…and he’ll eat for a day. Wait, do Granok even like fish? I mean, maybe if they’re
beer Slush battered. Never mind. Today on Twitter, Ahnrez of Settler in Exile posted a bit about fishing and it got my wheels turning about the potential for WildStar’s take on one of my favorite pastimes from World of Warcraft. With that in mind, I wanted to take a chance to break down what I think makes fishing fun, despite the fact that it’s often considered a mind-numbing counter watching bore.
It Doesn’t Need To Be “Deep”
In this hardcore fisherman’s opinion, Fishing in WoW was so enjoyable because of its simplicity. I spent the vast majority of my fishing time during The Burning Crusade, as I wasn’t able to keep a hardcore raid schedule and found my entertainment in those game systems that could be done solo. A number of hours went by as I watched TV shows, listened to music or just zoned out for a while in a sort of “zen” state. Me and the bobber taking a break from the dungeons, killing and leveling.
Much like in real life, fishing in an MMO is at its best when used as a way to relax and unwind. Those players who have complained for years about Blizzard vowing to make it more interactive are missing the point. If we’re watching cooldowns or treating it like a fast-paced minigame, we’re missing the point. When it starts to require skill or introduce performance-based rewards, it becomes no different than the other PvE/PvP portions of the game.
The fact that you have a fair, random chance at gaining something cool without the need to be “the best” makes it fun for the casual crowd. That said, the Fishing Derby was a way that a simple activity could introduce some competition for those players craving a little more excitement. I’m all for these types of events in that situation.
There Has To Be A Point
Fishing can be a great side activity and a way to break the monotony of the grind, but it still needs some way to incentivize players to participate in it. Another reason I spent so much time fishing in the good old days of TBC? Gold, and lots of it. The vast majority of players hated fishing in Vanilla because there was very little reason to do it. However, players that took the time to level fishing and cooking found that they alone could make most of the necessary buff foods required by the top end raiders. Because of this, fishing was an extremely lucrative profession for those willing to do it. Add in the ability to fish up Motes of Water and the occasional Goldenscale Vendorfish, and a dedicated fisherman could generate quite the bank account.
As time wore on, achievements were introduced and the easing of the process to get your fishing skill to max level caused more players in WoW to take up the pole and hit the lakes of Azeroth. Suddenly, pets like Mr. Pinchy (have a listen to Episode 2 of our podcast for my Pinchy story) and catching all the types of fish had a more tangible reward for players looking to increase their achievement points. With the rising popularity of fishing, Blizzard continued to dedicate more time to including fun rewards and reason to cast your lures.
What WildStar Fishing Needs
As Anhrez tweets, “Fishing adds ‘flavor’ to cooking, to grey items for turn in, and the possible crit success could be lore-tastic!” I couldn’t agree more. If we can make use of the fish we catch to further our cooking skills and find the occasional boost to our wallets, there’s enough reason to take a break on the way to level cap to do it. Likewise, give us those critical catches where we land the big one. Crafting items, gear or items with lore attached (lost jewelry, messages in bottles, etc.) keep us trying to find that next cool item among the piles of scales and slime.
In my opinion, fishing in WildStar needs to follow some simple guidelines to keep it fun and interesting for players:
- Keep it simple – Click to cast, click to reel in. No crazy QTE minigames.
- Make it lucrative – Fish and items caught need to have uses in other professions or provide some form of revenue.
- Synergy – Fishing should potentially add value to other professions. Also, I just wanted to use that buzzword.
- Keep it optional – Fishing should be a fun side activity, not something every min-maxer needs to succeed.
- There needs to be “The Big One” – The super-rare mount or pet has to be there for us to chase. We need a Moby Dick for our Ahab to chase to the ends of Nexus.
Of course, this is just my perspective. I’m sure that other players loathe the 30 second countdown that is fishing in WoW and want to see more in WildStar. Fishing is something that games often spend little time on, or even ignore altogether. However, it’s one of those unique features that keep the game world feeling alive and well rounded. I’d love to hear the thoughts of others on this topic, so feel free to comment or hit me up on Twitter.Written by: Datix